Courtesy of San Benito High School:
Seeking to encourage local and state political candidates to use the power of an elected office to help combat climate change, the San Benito High School Outdoor Club has drafted a letter encouraging these politicians to take action that reflects the necessity to protect the environment.
During a lunchtime meeting on Oct. 23, Outdoor Club Co-Presidents Ian Sills and Shelby O’Neil and Advisor Donald “Chip” Gauvreau, reviewed the letter with club members and asked them to add their signatures to it prior to its distribution to politicians.
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The letter begins, “Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election, as a collective and club of diverse and concerned high school students, we hope that your actions, whether legislative or personal, will reflect the necessity of combating climate change and protecting the environment.”
Referencing the impacts of climate change on nature, weather and animal species, the letter says “it is imperative that our legislatures and representatives take action across all levels of government to stop accelerating our societies movement toward irreversible climate change.”
Sills said the letter was drafted with the hope that politicians “will support environmental awareness and action.”
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Gauvreau, noting that none of the club members reviewing the letter are of voting age, told them that the reputation that their generation has of apathy and being overly concerned with how many “likes” an Instagram post has is not representative of the students with whom he interacts on campus.
“It’s just not true and we see it as educators here that there are plenty of people out there that are passionate,” he said. “We saw what happened in Parkland, Florida where that horrible shooting happened. Instead of just sitting back and complaining about it, those students got involved and they’re trying to change the planet.”
Gauvreau praised Sills and O’Neil for drafting the letter and told the club members that “You guys have tools that my generation never had — the power of social media, the power of getting a message out there — stuff that you guys can do to make a difference. As an educator, that’s what I want to see.”
He said that what “makes me the happiest is that I have a little girl and I’m happy to go to the beach and realize that there are people out there that are fighting for environmental situations. The planet that I give to her and her kids in the future is going to be equally as awesome as the stuff that we can enjoy today.”
With Santa Cruz and Monterey less than an hour away, Gauvreau noted that “it’s insane how beautiful the stuff is here and you guys are fighting for it. This is where it starts. It might seem like just a letter, but it’s about making those connections and who you talk to. It’s about getting your voices heard. It gets going here and people find out about it.”
Below is a draft of the letter:
Dear Candidate for political office,
Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election, as a collective and club of diverse and concerned high school students, we hope that your actions, whether legislative or personal, will reflect the necessity of combating climate change and protecting the environment. We, the Outdoor Club members of San Benito High School, recognize and are concerned with the dangerous effects of climate change which are becoming ever more apparent. Today, there should be no doubt that human actions are directly altering the workings of nature and contributing to the demise of several species including ourselves. It is no coincidence that since the Industrial Revolution weather phenomena has become increasingly volatile and dangerous as gargantuan amounts of carbon dioxide and pollution have entered our environment. One only has to look to the devastation of the California drought, Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Maria, Napa Fire, and sea level rise, to name a few, to see that our actions have devastating effects on ourselves. Ergo, it is imperative that our legislatures and representatives take action across all levels of government to stop accelerating our societies movement toward irreversible climate change.
Speaking from the perspective of a new generation on the verge of adulthood, we see the unfortunate reality which we must inherit. Generations of irresponsible action and inaction have left us with a troubling future. The sum of generations of environmental abuse, results in all aspects of human affliction becoming exacerbated. International conflicts will intensify with a shrinkage in the amount of freshwater and an increase in sea level rise. World wide health pandemics will intensify with the ascension of more tropical regions and less biological diversity to find cures. Supplies of food will be tested by new unpredictable weather patterns. Impoverished communities will find increasingly limited resources to elevate their way of life. As a club, we ask that you keep all this in mind when dealing with issues of environmental protection and regulation.
Moreover, as a club, we applaud the efforts of our home state of California in becoming a leader in the fight against climate change. We entrust the winners of the 2018 election cycle to continue fighting to ensure that future generations will have the same access to nature and all its benefits with which we have been bestowed.